The Mission: to explore, create and inspire!

thePatientPotter is a blog that is designed to encourage and inspire fellow Potters and Entrepreneurs as it takes them through the challenges and triumphs of a 'potter on a mission'.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Channel 4 Came and Went

Last week was crazy! Tuesday Galen Culver from Channel 4's 'Is this a great state or what!' news segment called to do a story on my pottery. We set a date of Thursday for the interview. I had 1 day to get ready. I spent that day cleaning my studio and throwing some vases to have inventory on my shelf.

He came on Thursday and filmed and talked for about 2 hours. On Friday the segment aired and those 2 hours were condensed into 2 minutes! Galen did a great job! You can see a video of the segment at Go down to the middle of the page to the 4th video and I'll be in that group. I have had a lot of activity on my website and emails because of this show. Thank you Channel 4 and Galen Culver!

This week I've been mainly focused on designing the vases I threw for the show. Vases are my favorite things to make in the studio. I love the shapes and how they fit in my hands when working on them.
This vase I carved in my 'Trapped Vines' design. It is now sitting on a shelf waiting to dry enough for me to brush off all those little clay blobs. Then I can clean it up.

This is a design I call 'Whispering Wheat'. It will be a serving dish that I hope a current customer can add to her growing dinnerware set.

These two vases are designs I just made up. I think the one with the leaves is my favorite at the moment.

This one I decided to test a porcelain slip on. I plan on carving a design in the white slip area that will allow the red clay to peek through.

Monday, April 7, 2008


I woke up Friday morning with my stomach feeling queasy and my head pounding. I went down to my studio, looked at the clay blobs around my potters wheel and decided I just wasn't in the mood to throw. So I went in the garage and loaded my kiln for a glaze fire. The rest of my workday was spent in the office catching up on paperwork. It's amazing how far behind you can get when you take a vacation.

***OBSERVATION***When you have your own business, every hour of every day is occupied; there is always something to do. I took a 4 day vacation recently and while I certainly enjoyed myself while I was gone, coming back to work has been quite stressful. With no assistant or co-worker to do my work while I was gone I have been struggling all week to try and catch up. Something or several things will have to be put on the backburner to make up for the missing hours. It's a huge juggling of priorities act. ***END OF OBSERVATION***

On Saturday, I was finally able to unload the kiln around noon (I started the kiln at 5:30 am the previous day). Here are my favorite pieces from this load.

Great Box for Shipping Pottery!

One of the most asked questions potters ask other potters is 'how do you ship your pottery?'. I have always had great success wrapping my pottery in bubble wrap, placing it in a box that has about 3 inches of space between the pottery and the box and then packing it tight with peanuts. Most potters will tell you that you must double box your pottery. The reason I bring this up is because of a package I recently received from Axner.

My husband is building a ball mill for me (I will blog on this later). I ordered 2 porcelain jars that will fit the base that he is building. The box that these porcelain jars came in I thought was a piece of art. Simply made but built to protect. The box was about 3 inches larger than the jar and had 3 inserts that the jar sat in. A carboard surrounding the jar and a top and bottom that closes the jar in. The cardboard that surrounds the jar has about a 1" flap on each side that keeps the jar from hitting the outside box. This box is something anyone could make and I know it works because one of the boxes came damaged (see photo) but the jar was not. These jars are very heavy yet those 1" flaps kept the jar safely away from the damaged area.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I walked into the studio this morning with empty workstations. My goal was to change that as soon as possible.

What I started working on first is a small refrigerator magnet of a Route 66 historical building here in town. I have sculpted this piece twice so far in my quest to get one that I like. I'm getting tired of remaking it. This is my third one. I am going to make a mold of this one before I do the detail work. Then if I screw up or just don't like it, I can make a new one like this real quick.

What I did today was clean it up. I also made sure there were no undercuts.

This is pretty much ready to make a mold of except that after I saw this picture I decided to trim off some of the left side. Now it's ready to make a mold.

Next on my list was to clean up some crosses that I made yesterday on the slab roller.

These crosses have become such a staple in my studio that I can pratically do them with my eyes closed. It is so much quicker making 10 of one thing than one thing 10 different times.

I needed to throw something today. My drying shelves are completely bare and that just can't be. According to my schedule I need to throw mugs. It's been about a month since I threw some mugs so I decided to throw some stoneware mugs first to get in the swing of things before using my red clay.

After throwing the 3rd flop, I decided the clay was too plastic and would never give me a good mug. This is recycled clay. What I'll have to do is wedge it with some new stoneware and try again. I gathered all of the clay and covered it in plastic. I'll wedge it tomorrow.


It was hard waking up this morning. I literally stumbled into my studio. Once I began surveying the different stages of production I had going, I became jazzed. I want to fire a cone 6 kiln load tomorrow so today's goal will be to finish up everything I want included in the load.

I stained 10 crosses with black iron oxide which finished these up. Messy job. Have to wear gloves.

Decided the letters on these hearts needed to be filled in with stain to make the letters pop. We'll see how they turn out. These are the first to get finished. They'll go to Sara to be designed into keychains. If they look good and work good (not sure the holes are big enough), then I can put them through to be finished for the Brownie Troop coming in April.

And loaded the kiln. Included in this load are 4 ice cream bowls, 1 herb planter, the mini vases I glazed yesterday, 10 crosses and about that many hearts. I also threw in some test porcelain beads for Sara to design with.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Today I spent 5 hours in the studio. I am surprised that I was only able to finish a few pieces in that time. You would think that with 5 hours I would have accomplished a lot more but I was doing detail work on one ups and that's a slower process.

What I'm working on are some mini vases using Linda Spalding's designs. Linda contacted me through my Etsy store and asked if I would make some small vases using her designs. When she emailed me the designs I was thrilled. I thought I could have some fun with these and so far I'm right. These little things are a hoot! She wanted them to be 3-5" tall. I am limited to the colors I have in my studio so I can't follow her color scheme exactly. What I am ending up with are her designs with my flair added in. This is what I did today.

I also stained some crosses today.


It felt good to get in the studio and start working again. Empty shelves greeted me as I strolled in at 5 am with a warm cup of tea in my hand. Hopefully by the end of the week these shelves will be full of glazed pieces ready for the kiln.

I could only work for 2 hours today so I decided to finish up some small projects. There were 2 small pieces that I wanted to wax and a mini vase that I needed to finish glazing.

I also went over my production list to see what I needed to concentrate on for the week. It looks like I need to throw some more mugs in both stoneware and red clay and roll out some more crosses and heart key chains.